Title:
TURF PALLET AND SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lightweight turf pallet is formed of High Density Polyethylene and is formed by a twin-skin vacuum molding process under high pressure. The pallet has top and bottom faces each with an array of frustoconical cavities formed in rows on each face, the cavities on opposed faces being coaxial and joined at their apices to form a web therebetween. A system for constructing a recreation or sporting surface comprising such pallets, together with comer joiner members and surface pads is also described and claimed.



Inventors:
Chapman, Derek Robert (Victoria, AU)
Application Number:
12/554753
Publication Date:
12/31/2009
Filing Date:
09/04/2009
Assignee:
COREX PLASTICS PTY LTD. (Victoria, AU)
TRANSFORMED PLASTIX PTY LTD. (Victoria, AU)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/57.25, 108/57.33, 108/57.16
International Classes:
A63C19/00; B65D19/00; B65D19/32; B65D19/38; B65D19/40
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Fleit Intellectual Property Law (21355 East Dixie Highway Suite 115, MIAMI, FL, 33180, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A lightweight turf pallet, comprising: spaced top and bottom faces being made of plastic material and defining a periphery; two opposing edges interconnecting said spaced top and bottom faces along said periphery; an array of substantially frustoconical cavities being formed in each of said spaced top and bottom faces, the cavities on said spaced top and bottom faces being coaxial and being joined at their apices to form opposed cavities with a web therebetween, said web having at least one drainage hole therein, and an open-ended steel reinforcing member being disposed between said spaced top and bottom faces and extending between said two opposing edges, said reinforcing member defining at least part of a tine pocket facilitating lifting and transportation of the pallet using a forklift.

2. The pallet according to claim 1, wherein said spaced top and bottom faces include high-density polyethylene.

3. The pallet according to claim 1, wherein said pallet is formed by a twin-skin vacuum molding process under high pressure.

4. The pallet according to claim 1, wherein: a first part includes said spaced top and bottom faces, said two opposing edges, said array of substantially frustoconical cavities, and said open-ended steel reinforcing member; and a second part includes spaced top and bottom faces being made of plastic material and defining a periphery; two opposing edges interconnecting said spaced top and bottom faces along said periphery; an array of substantially frustoconical cavities being formed in each of said spaced top and bottom faces, the cavities on said spaced top and bottom faces being coaxial and being joined at their apices to form opposed cavities with a web therebetween, said web having at least one drainage hole therein, and an open-ended steel reinforcing member being disposed between said spaced top and bottom faces and extending between said two opposing edges, said reinforcing member defining at least part of a tine pocket facilitating lifting and transportation of the pallet using a forklift; an edge of said part being connected to an edge of said further part to form a rectangular pallet.

5. The pallet according to claim 4, wherein said first part has a groove formed in said edge and said second part has a groove in said edge; and an aluminum joining member interconnects said first part and said second part, said aluminum joining member being inserted in said groove in said first part and inserted in said groove in said second part.

6. The pallet according to claim 1, wherein one of said cavities on said bottom face is arranged at each corner of said pallet and is positioned to receive a substantially complementary projection on a joining member for joining adjacent pallets to form an extended surface.

7. The pallet according to claim 1, wherein: said reinforcing member has a U-shaped cross section with extremities, and flanges extending laterally from said extremities, said U-shaped cross section opening downward; and a steel plate spans said flanges to cap said U-shaped channel member.

8. The pallet according to claim 7, wherein said steel plate is further connected to a U-shaped channel member of a further pallet.

9. A system for constructing a recreation or sporting surface, said system including a series of pallets as defined in claim 1, corner joiner members for joining the adjacent corners of four said pallets together, surface pads comprising a plastics sheet for placing on top of each said pallet to provide sound deadening in use, said surface pads having holes therein for drainage purposes, and natural or synthetic turf on top of said surface pads and retained thereon by an upstanding wall extending around the perimeter of the pallets when joined and forming a perimeter member.

10. The system according to claim 9, wherein said surface pads are formed of acrylonitrite butadiene styrene (ABS).

11. The system according to claim 9, wherein said corner joiner members are plastics pads with upstands for engaging in corresponding said cavities in the underside of each pallet at said corners.

12. The system according to claim 11, wherein said corner joiner members have an upstanding central cruciform for locating and supporting the respective corners of the pallet.

13. A system for constructing a recreation or sporting surface, comprising: a first pallet according to claim 1; and a second pallet according to claim 1; said first pallet and said second pallet being coplanar and joined along adjacent edges to form a rectangular pallet; said reinforcing member of said first pallet and said reinforcing member of said second pallet being joined to form a common reinforcing member.

14. The system according to claim 13, wherein said reinforcing member of said first pallet and said reinforcing member of said second pallet are collinear.

15. The system according to claim 13, wherein: said reinforcing member of said first pallet and said reinforcing member of said second pallet, each of said reinforcing members having a U-shaped channel member extending between said opposing edges of said pallet, having opposed sides ending in laterally opposing extremities, and having an open side directed towards said bottom face of said pallet; and said reinforcing member of said first pallet and said reinforcing member of said second pallet share a steel plate connected to said U-shaped channel of said first pallet and said U-shaped channel of said second pallet to form a rectangular section tine pocket.

16. A turf pallet, comprising: a part having a top face and a bottom face; a reinforcing member with a U-shaped cross section opening downward, said reinforcing member being disposed on said bottom face of said part and spanning said part.

17. The turf pallet according to claim 16, wherein: said bottom face has a channel formed therein; and said reinforcing member is disposed in said channel.

18. The turf pallet according to claim 16, further comprising a plate connected to said reinforcing member and disposed beneath said reinforcing member to define an open-ended pocket for receiving a forklift tine.

19. The turf pallet according to claim 16, wherein said U-shaped reinforcing member has a flange on each opposing side of said channel, said flanges at least partially overlapping said bottom face of said part.

20. The turf pallet according to claim 19, further comprising a plate connected to said U-shaped reinforcing member, disposed beneath said U-shaped pocket, and spanning said flanges to define an open-ended pocket for receiving a forklift tine.

21. The turf pallet according to claim 16, further comprising: a further part having a top face and a bottom face and a reinforcing member with a U-shaped cross section opening downward, said reinforcing member being disposed on said bottom face of said part and spanning said part; a plate overlying said reinforcing member in said part and overlying said reinforcing member in said further part.

22. The turf pallet according to claim 16, further comprising: a further part having a top face and a bottom face and a reinforcing member with a U-shaped cross section opening downward, said reinforcing member being disposed on said bottom face of said part and spanning said part; said reinforcing member of said part being aligned with said reinforcing member of said further part.

23. The turf pallet according to claim 22, wherein: said part has a side with a groove formed therein; said further part has a side with a groove formed therein; said side of said part opposes said side of said further part; and a joiner member engages said groove in said part and said groove in said further part.

24. The turf pallet according to claim 23, wherein said joiner member has an I-shaped cross section.

25. The turf pallet according to claim 22, further comprising a perimeter member for providing an upstanding wall in which to retain turf, said perimeter member extending around an outer edge of said part and said further part.

26. The turf pallet according to claim 22, wherein said part and said further part have a rebate formed therein around said part and said further part when said part and said further part are joined.

27. The turf pallet according to claim 16, wherein: said bottom surface of said has an aperture formed therein; and a corner joiner has a first protrusion inserted in said aperture in said bottom surface of said part and a second protrusion configured to insert into an aperture in a bottom surface of a further part.

28. The turf pallet according to claim 27, wherein said corner joiner has four protrusions, each of said four protrusions being configured to insert in an aperture in a respective part, said corner joiner further having a cruciform disposed between said four protrusions.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/772,664, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/079,794, filed Mar. 14, 2005, which is now abandoned.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

THE NAMES OF PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

Not Applicable

INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC

Not Applicable

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a turf pallet and to a system for constructing a recreation or sporting surface. More particularly the invention relates to a lightweight turf pallet for supporting natural or synthetic turf, in use, in storage, or during the growth period for natural turf in a manner whereby transportation, installation and replacement are readily accommodated and other factors such as drainage and aeration are optimized.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Prior art turf pallets consist of large trays formed from steel composite and rely on their mass to stay in position. They suffer the disadvantage of being heavy and cumbersome and, therefore, are difficult to transport and place in position. They may also suffer rust and corrosion which can ultimately cause failure of the pallet in use.

It is conceivable that lighter material than steel could be used to construct the pallet but the problem then is to provide the strength and rigidity necessary to support loads estimated to be around 1500 kg/ft2.

Accordingly it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved turf pallet that overcomes one or more of the disadvantages associated with existing turf pallets, or that at least provides a useful alternative.

A further object is to provide an improved system for constructing a recreation or sporting surface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one form of the invention provides a lightweight turf pallet formed of plastics material having spaced top and bottom faces and comprising an array of generally frustoconical cavities formed in each face, the cavities on opposed faces being coaxial and being joined at their apices to form a web therebetween.

Another form of the invention provides a system for constructing a recreation or sporting surface, said system including a series of pallets as described the preceding paragraph, comer joiner members for joining the adjacent comers of four said pallets together, surface pads comprising a plastics sheet for placing on top of each said pallet to provide sound deadening in use, said surface pads having holes therein for drainage purposes, and natural or synthetic turf on top of said surface pads and retained thereon by said perimeter member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the invention may be more readily understood one particular embodiment will now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of the components of a turf pallet system according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a part perspective end view of a turf pallet as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a part perspective sectional view of the pallet shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective underside view of the pallet shown in FIGS. 1-3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a joiner member for joining the corners of four adjacent pallets, shown in position connected to the pallet of FIGS. 1-4; and

FIG. 6 is similar to FIG. 2 but shows the interconnection of two like parts which together form a pallet according to this particular embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A turf pallet as provided according to the present embodiment consists essentially of two separate parts (10) which are joined together in the manufacturing process to provide a flat square tray for supporting natural or synthetic turf (11). The separate parts (10) are molded from HDPE using a vacuum molding process under high pressure. The separate parts (10) each include spaced parallel reinforcing members (12) formed from steel and fully enclosed within the molding.

As is evident in FIGS. 1 and 2, the reinforcing members (12) consist essentially of channel members having flanges (13) on the extremities of the opposed sides of the channel. The reinforcing members (12) define inverted channels extending across each of the parts (10) on the underside thereof. The opposed sides of the separate parts (10) have grooves (14) extending part way along the opposed sides from each end and adjacent the top and bottom edges respectively. Separate joiner members (15) formed from aluminum extrusion and having essentially an I-beam construction are forced along the opposed edges to engage the grooves (14) and attach the two parts (10) together.

When the two parts (10) are rigidly joined together to form a flat square tray or pallet, galvanized steel plates (16) are riveted or screwed through the HDPE to the flanges (13) of the reinforcing members (12), as is shown more clearly in FIGS. 2 and 4. The plates (16) extend across both the separate parts (10) and, in combination with the reinforcing members (12) form open-ended pockets suitable for receiving the tines of a forklift truck.

Turning now to FIGS. 2, 3, and 6, the internal construction of the parts (10) forming the pallet or tray is shown in more detail. As mentioned previously the parts are molded by means of a high pressure vacuum molding process in a twin skin configuration and internally have an array of essentially frustoconical pockets forming cavities in the upper and underside of the parts. The pockets on opposed sides are joined by a web (30) at their apices (17) and a hole (18) is provided between opposed cavities in the web (30).

A rebate (19) extends around three sides of each of the parts (10) such that when the two parts are joined together the rebate extends around the perimeter of the resulting pallet or tray. The rebate accommodates a molded perimeter member (20) which, when in place, provides an upstanding wall that extends around the perimeter of the pallet to retain turf (11) and other material such as sand/rubber mix (not shown) on the surface of the pallet. A plastics sheet (22) of acrylonitrite butadiene styrene (ABS) material is placed on top of the pallet and in use, is located under the turf (11). The sheet (22) is provided with holes therein to allow drainage between the turf and the pallet.

As can be seen in FIG. 5, a corner joiner (23) is provided for joining the adjacent corners of four pallets together in use. The corner joiner (23) has four spaced upstanding protrusions (24) of essentially conical shape that are adapted to locate in corresponding apertures (25) (FIG. 4) in the underside of each pallet. A central cruciform (26) on the corner joiner (23) locates and supports the respective comers of the pallets.

As mentioned previously, the turf (11) may be natural or synthetic turf. In the case of natural turf, the turf is grown on the tray which then acts as a lightweight transportable pallet and finally as a support device for the turf in use. In other words the plastics pallet of the present invention provides a turf growing tray, a transportable pallet and a base surface for a sporting or recreation surface. Whilst the pallet according to the particular embodiment described above is formed essentially from two components that are joined together, a second embodiment (not shown) provides a single part pallet thus avoiding the need for joining two parts together.

The unique internal design comprising opposed frustoconical cavities enables the pallet to carry the high compression loadings required for the particular use and also allows even air circulation and drainage under the surface of the turf for providing a stable temperature. The plastics sheet (22) provides sound deadening and minimizes thump and echo from activity on the surface, whilst also facilitating drainage.

Clearly, the invention is not limited to the particular embodiment as described above as modifications may be readily incorporated. For example, the internal design of the pallet may be modified provided sufficient strength is attained for long term use. Also, whilst the described embodiment relates to a square pallet it could equally be a rectangular shape other than square. Conceivably it could be non-rectangular provided the shape was such to allow interconnection of the pallets to form a continuous surface.